Even though you may still be in the midst of term assignments and midterms, you can take productive steps to get prepared and focused for finals. The following tips will help make your final exam period as stress free — and academically successful — as possible.
Confirm your exam schedule. Double check the date, time, length, and location of each of your exams on the Office of the Registrar's 'final' version of the final exam schedule. It’s unusual that an exam date would change, but sometimes the exam locations do. Then, check these against your course outline, eClass postings, and in-class information. If the information does not match, contact your instructor immediately. Double checking these details in advance will help you avoid unnecessary stress on exam day.
Make a plan. Set aside some time now to plan how you want to spend the rest of the term. Grab a monthly calendar and your course outlines to plan, one class at a time:
- List all upcoming due dates for assignments and your final exam.
- Make a list of the themes/topics you need to cover for the final.
- Estimate how much time you need spend on each topic (e.g., 3 hours for unit 2 in Psyco 105). Focus on individual, smaller topics within course sections or units to make planning this time easier. While you may ideally want 50 hours to review that really tough class unit, remember that you may realistically have less time — especially when you need to balance your overall study time between courses while maintaining your well-being.
- Then, schedule these blocks of time on your calendar between now and when you write your final exam. Break up larger topics into multiple study sessions, and aim to complete your review at least a day or two in advance, so you have time for extra review.
- Think about what you are already doing in your courses that is helping you prepare for your final examination. Whether you are working on a lab report, prepping for a quiz, or submitting a paper, ask yourself what you are learning that you can carry forward to the final exam.
- Work strategically with your class notes. Review them each day after class, add information from the textbook, or identify questions that could show up on the exam.
- Do practice questions from the textbook, exam registry, or instructor.
- If the exam is cumulative, review old midterms or quizzes.
- Note questions you have about course materials, then meet with your instructor or TA to discuss them.
Interested in more strategies? Check out our exam strategies workshops or meet with a learning strategist.